Barcelona midfielder Xavi has praised the attitude of team-mate Eric Abidal as he prepares for surgery.
The French full-back is to undergo an operation to remove a liver tumour on Thursday - with the procedure having been brought forward 24 hours.
The 31-year-old was diagnosed with the tumour on Tuesday and Barca have been able to reschedule other appointments in order to make his case a priority.
There is still no indication as to how long Abidal will be sidelined for once he has gone under the knife, with it impossible to tell at this stage how successful the surgery will be.
He has been inundated with messages of support as he readies himself for the operation, with the football world uniting behind one of their own.
Unsurprisingly, his colleagues at Camp Nou have rallied around him, with Xavi revealing that Abidal remains in high spirits.
He said: "He's a strong person, mentally one of the strongest I know and an example to everyone in the locker room.
"We encouraged him and he was just like he always is, he gave us encouragement.
"He'll beat this. We were surprised at how good of a state he is in. He told us that that's life."
Abidal has been with Barcelona since 2007, becoming a valued member of the squad and a firm favourite with the fans.
News of his health problem has come as a shock to all concerned, but Xavi insists the episode will help to knit Pep Guardiola's squad even closer together.
He added: "It's probably the strongest hit we've ever taken. It was the worst moment I've ever experienced in a locker room.
"We're going to make sure this unites us more than ever. When adverse situations happen to a collective, it helps unite them and that's what we are going to do. Try to let it affect us the least amount possible. Life goes on."